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Rethinking the Welfare State

The Political Economy of Pension Reform Edited by Martin Rein, Professor of Social Policy, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US and Winfried Schmähl, Professor of Economics and Director, Economic Department, Centre for Social Policy Research, University of Bremen, Germany
In this book a distinguished group of contributors discuss the changing political economy of pension reform. They focus on those countries which have launched a significant reframing of their pension system.

Each chapter provides a detailed review of recent pension reforms and offers institutional evidence of the extent to which these reforms suggest a redirection of the welfare state towards a more public-private mix of policies. The countries were selected to represent the variety of new directions which mature industrial countries as well as countries in transition have taken.
Extent: 480 pp
Hardback Price: $196.00 Web: $176.40
Publication Date: 2004
ISBN: 978 1 84376 102 0
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  • eISBN: 978 1 78195 104 0

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  • Economics and Finance
  • Public Finance
  • Welfare Economics
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Economics of Social Policy
  • Welfare States
In this book a distinguished group of contributors discuss the changing political economy of pension reform. They focus on those countries which have launched a significant reframing of their pension system.

Each chapter provides a detailed review of recent pension reforms and offers institutional evidence of the extent to which these reforms suggest a redirection of the welfare state towards a more public-private mix of policies. The countries were selected to represent the variety of new directions which mature industrial countries as well as countries in transition have taken.

The book brings to light a number of surprising developments. These include the observation that pension systems do not conform to pure models of welfare system regimes; that a number of diverse developments have contributed to the extension of private pensions; that an emerging pattern of substituting private for public pensions can be detected but public provision still dominates in transition economies and that traditional employer-provided private pension schemes are undergoing significant change. One conclusion is that the design of the pension scheme may be more important than the mix of public-private in preventing the growth of inequality among the aged.

This important book will be essential reading for scholars of economics, public policy, political science and finance as well as policymakers and practitioners involved in pension system reform.
‘This first comprehensive analysis of public–private mixings discovers pension systems as rather flexible "hybrid forms" not locked in as “uniform types”. The balance shifts towards extended coverage of private pensions or functional privatization of public pensions – the private increasingly substituted for the public, and the contribution–benefit link is forged closer. What does the future hold? Surely, more income inequality in old age – unless “the rest of society” is already characterized by low poverty rates and low inequality, or unless active political design of the public–private mix compensates for social polarization, preventing a 21st century return of “the two nations”. The modern state may “devolve” delivery of benefits – but an ageing electorate will still hold the state responsible for designing the requisite mix.’
– Stephan Leibfried, University of Bremen, Germany

‘This is the best book out there for surveying the variety of mixed public-private systems that have been sweeping the social security world during the last two decades. Separate chapters written by experts from each country explain what is happening in OECD countries, Latin America and the transitional economies, placing the recent multi-pillar reforms into the context of each country’s history and political structure. Cross-cutting chapters by Rein and Schmähl pull it all together. This enables us to view both the commonalities and differences across countries, and to evaluate how path dependencies operate through time. I recommend it as a valuable reference source.’
– Estelle James, The Urban Institute, US
Contributors: D. Blake, G. Bonoli, B.H. Casey, A. Chlon-Dominczak, B.L. Friedman, L.H. van der Heiden-Aantjes, Y.M. Katsumata, K. Müller, E. Palmer, M. Rein, M. Rutkowski, W. Schmähl, H. Stapf-Finé, J. Szalai, J. Turner, E. Wadensjö, R.K. Weaver, P. Whiteford, A. Yamada
Contents: Introduction Part I: The Experience of Mature Welfare States in Western Economies A. Contracting Out: The Experience in the United Kingdom and Japan 1. Contracting Out of the State Pension System: The British Experience of Carrots and Sticks 2. The Relationship between the Role of the Corporate Pension and the Public Pension Plan in Japan B. Mandating of Contractual Agreements: Australia, Switzerland and the Netherlands 3. Reforming Pensions: The Australian Experience 4. The Institutionalization of the Swiss Multi-pillar Pension System 5. The Quality of the Dutch Pension System: Will it be Sustainable in the Twenty-first Century? C. Carve-outs: Germany, USA and Swedish Financial Accounts 6. Paradigm Shift in German Pension Policy: Measures Aiming at a New Public–Private Mix and their Effects 7. Individual Accounts and the Continuing Debate over Social Security Reform in the United States 8. Public Pension Reform and Contractual Agreements in Sweden: From Defined Benefit to Defined Contribution D. Pathways Towards a Mixed Public–Private Pension System 9. How Societies Mix Public and Private Spheres in their Pension Systems 10. Whose Money is it Anyhow? Governance and Social Investment in Collective Investment Funds Part II: Economies in Transition and Latin America 11. Home-made Pension Reforms in Central and Eastern Europe and the Evolution of the World Bank Approach to Modern Pension Systems 12. Public and Private Mix in the Polish Pension System 13. Conflicting Interests in Shaping Hungary’s New Private Pension Scheme 14. Latin American and East European Pension Reforms: Accounting for a Paradigm Shift Part III: The Public–Private Mix and Wellbeing in Aged Households 15. The Public–Private Mix of Retirement Income in Nine OECD Countries: Some Evidence from Micro Data and an Exploration of its Implications 16. Income Packaging and Economic Wellbeing in the Last Stage of the Working Career Index